White sands, vibrant nightlife, sustainable farming. You may be surprised at what these three things have in common. They’re all part of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. While many visitors spend their time along the coast, a true agricultural gem lies inland – the amazing organic farms of Fort Myers. Whether you’re walking through lush acreage or grabbing a bite of the best farm-to-table food, these three stops are unique additions to your itinerary.
Home to the largest collection of tropical food plants in the U.S., ECHO is a delightful find in Fort Myers. Dedicated to solving hunger around the world in creative ways, it’s a sustainable farm built on innovative solutions.
Year-round, you can take a guided walking tour of the grounds to learn about plants and essential farming techniques in developing countries. You can also watch a demonstration of how ECHO is helping people help themselves. For a more interactive visit, ECHO allows guests to experience seven simulated agricultural scenarios – from a tropical rainforest with leaves you can taste to a rural school that shows off urban rooftop gardening methods.
If you happen to be in the area in March, set aside some time for the annual Global Food and Farm Festival. It’s where thousands of attendees flock to taste exotic dishes and hear about the latest agricultural advancements from sustainable farming experts.
Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm is comprised of 100 acres of lush green fields treaded by 100% grass-fed Longhorn cows, Red Wattle pigs and a variety of heritage breed chickens - all raised without hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. Combine that with sustainable techniques like pasture rotation and you’ll understand why this farm is an organic paradise.
Simply stroll the gorgeous grounds and see healthy, happy animals. Or, sample organically raised meats and heirloom vegetables by attending the One Hundred Acre Lunch that’s held every Wednesday. You can even purchase your own meat and produce from the farm’s store.
Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm is open to the public every Saturday, by reservation, from 11AM until 2PM, serving a farmhouse brunch in the beautiful dining facility and patio overlooking the pastures. Mimosas, wine and locally brewed craft beer are also available.
Buckingham Farms is home to hydroponically grown vegetables. This is a method of sustainable farming where mineral nutrient solutions and water are used without soil – saving water, eliminating the danger of pests and letting farmers control their plants more precisely.
In addition to vegetables, the farm also sells seasonal fruit, fresh eggs and local honey. However, it’s best known for the unique dining experience provided by its restaurant. There, dishes are both homemade and incredibly fresh, created from the farm’s own produce.
And while you’re exploring the grounds in all their southern charm, you can’t miss the farm’s 10,000 strawberry plants and 400 peach trees. One of the first peach orchards in Lee County, it remains a signature part of Buckingham.
Open throughout the year, the farm also hosts a Farm to Table Extravaganza in February. The event includes a four-course meal crafted by celebrated local chefs with organic produce and free-range meats.
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